June 2021: Latest updates from the Department of Neighborhood Development
June is Pride month, when LGBTQIA communities worldwide remember the 1969 Stonewall Riots, celebrate the achievements that have been made to gain recognition and civil rights, and highlight the changes that are still needed. June is also the month that we recognize Juneteenth, the oldest national commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. From its Galveston, Texas origin in 1865, the observance of June 19th as the African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States.
Both of these events are an opportunity to recognize the work that still needs to be done to create a more equitable society for everyone. We continue that work here at DND as we address barriers to housing stability and wealth building through homeownership for households of color and communities who face inequitable access to housing due to gender, sexuality, immigration status, and other systems of oppression.
Building Affordable HousingBlue Hill Avenue Bidders Conference
On June 9 at 2 p.m., DND will host a virtual information session for those interested in submitting a proposal.
Staff from DND, the City of Boston Office of Economic Development (OED), the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts (BECMA), Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC), and Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation (MHIC), and Foundation for Business Equity (FBE) will be there to provide information on various topics, including:
- application and development process,
- basics of financing and financing options,
- opportunities for technical support, and,
- networking and team-building opportunities.
Here is the Zoom registration link for the information session.
The RFP deadline is August 3 at 4pm. Visit the RFP page to view the document.
Housing Innovation Competition
In partnership with the Boston Society for Architecture, the Housing Innovation Lab launched a Request for Ideas, where participants are invited to imagine new housing models that can be built on small sites. This RFI marks the first phase of this year’s Housing Innovation Competition and is a continuation of last year’s community conversations on the role triple-deckers have played in shaping Boston’s neighborhoods and how a new rendition of this building type can serve the needs of current and future residents.
In this open call for ideas, residents, designers, and anyone who is interested can share innovative ideas for housing that could be built on one or more pre-selected city-owned sites. These sites are located in Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan, and Hyde Park nearby existing triple-deckers.
RFI submissions are due on July 2 at 5 p.m..
Ending HomelessnessLandlord Incentive Program
The City is launching a Landlord Incentive Program to support landlords who rent to Boston households moving out of homelessness. The City will provide signing bonuses, holding fees, and a dedicated customer service provider to landlords who sign up for the program as a way to mitigate potential risks.
This program will also help landlords quickly and easily market their units to participating households. Tenants will receive ongoing staffing support as needed. Landlords will have direct access to a customer service provider to resolve any tenancy issues. The program is part of the City’s larger effort to end homelessness and housing instability in Boston.
We are hosting a landlord fair on June 22 and June 28. Landlords who participate will have access to the Landlord Incentive Program. Sign up to receive more information.
Assisting RentersRental Relief Fund
If you or someone you know is at risk of eviction, please apply to the Rental Relief Fund. To date the fund has distributed more than $11.5 million to more than 2,400 households. The City of Boston wants to help you stay in your home. Please visit the Rental Relief Fund website for more information and to apply.
Supporting Homeowners and HomebuyersVirtual Homeowner Expo
The Boston Home Center will be hosting a Virtual Homeowner Expo on June 23, from 6 - 8 p.m. The Expo will give homeowners an opportunity to learn about home repair programs and financial assistance that the City of Boston offers to eligible Boston homeowners. The Expo will consist of workshops covering the following topics:
- Home Repair Programs: What the City offers, who is eligible and how to apply
- Worrying about Foreclosure: Learn how the City can help residents stay in their homes
- Thinking of Selling Your Home?: Helpful information that you need to know as you begin the process.
Be sure to register and join us on June 23 for information about how the City can help you care for your most valuable asset — your home.
Federal COVID Grants and Awards Summary
DND has received substantial funding from the federal government, as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the "CARES Act"), passed in March of 2020, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, passed in December 2020, and the American Rescue Plan Act ("ARP"), passed in March of 2021.
Having been passed early in the COVID-19 Pandemic, the CARES Act was specifically targeted to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19. This act provided Boston with the following resources:
- $28.5 million in Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) funding, to help reduce the spread of COVID in congregate shelters, to de-densify shelters, and to help move unhoused individuals from shelter into housing.
- $20 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, for CDBG eligible activities which include, but are not limited to, purchase of properties for supportive housing, job training, and small business support. Initially committed primarily for rental relief, newer more flexible federal funding sources are being used for rental relief.
- $450,000 in Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) funds, to assist current providers of housing for persons with AIDS with operational costs related to COVID.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act provided $20.7 million for Boston's Rental Relief Fund.
The American Rescue Plan (ARP) is more flexible than the CARES Act funding, as it helps to address both direct impacts of COVID-19 and the previously existing economic conditions exacerbated by the pandemic. The ARP is providing Boston:
- $30.1 million in Rental Relief Funds;
- $20.6 million in HOME Investment Partnership funds, to be spent on supportive housing; and
- 480 emergency housing vouchers, to reduce homelessness.
DND is working hard to operationalize this funding and ensure that it supports an equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Construction Starts and Completions
Visit our Building Housing website for information on the projects below.
Pictured: Hearth at Four Corners, Rendering courtesy of the BPDAHearth at Four Corners
May marked the completion of Hearth at Four Corners, which creates 52 affordable one-bedroom units and two studio apartments for seniors.
All residents living in the new 48,867 square foot building have 24/7 access to onsite concierge services and a Resident Service Coordinator. They also have onsite wellness services.
The new housing development serves individuals age 62 or older who have a range of incomes, including eight units for formerly homeless individuals, eleven units set aside for clients of the Department of Mental Health, 19 units for those with incomes up to 30% of the area median income or $26,850 for an individual, 18 units for incomes up to 50% of AMI or $44,800 for an individual, and 17 units for those incomes up to 60% of AMI or $53,760 for an individual.31 Leroy Street and 632 West Park Street
We celebrated one AOP closing (two 3-unit buildings) in May. Partnering with the Boston Neighborhood Community Land Trust, properties at 31 Leroy Street and 632 West Park Street in Dorchester were acquired to preserve long term affordability. $750,000 of IDP funding was provided through the Acquisition Opportunity Program to support the purchase. Between the properties, there are four 60% of AMI units and two 80% of AMI units.133 Sumner Street
133 Sumner Street in East Boston was completed in May. This 30 condominium project contains 14 income-restricted units, made possible by the adjacent Clippership Wharf project.
In a unique partnership with the Boston Housing Authority, Clippership is rebuilding 22 public housing rental units at Clippership Wharf Apartments, and completing these condos, all as part of Clippership Wharf's Inclusionary Development Policy commitments.
Whether it’s assisting residents facing eviction, helping first-time homebuyers, or developing new affordable housing, everything at DND is supported by technology. Our systems empower frontline staff, partner agencies, and constituents, and are guided by an ethos of user-centered design.
We’re looking to expand our team, and further enhance our technology systems by hiring a full-time product manager. This role will be responsible for the oversight, development, and enhancement of our core technologies. Competitive applicants will have an interest in user research, civic engagement, process improvement, and integrating the needs of a diverse group of stakeholders.
To apply, please complete the application. The application will be open until July 2.
Every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., the Office of Housing Stability hosts a virtual clinic for small landlords and tenants. Complete our online form to RSVP for this virtual clinic.
Every Wednesday from 12 - 2 p.m., Office of Housing Stability staff host virtual walk-in hours to answer your housing questions. Complete our online form to RSVP for these walk-in hours.
At both the clinics and walk-in hours, staff can assist you with Rental Relief Fund applications and other financial assistance.
Find affordable rental and home ownership opportunities in the Metro-Boston area by using the Metrolist. Use it to determine what kind of home you’re eligible for and search for homes based on your needs. Don’t forget to sign up for the mailing list to be alerted to the latest housing opportunities.